Gadling Gear Review: Ozone Ultralight Roller Bag

Ospery Ozone Superlight Roller BagI look for three things in a roller bag. The bag should be easy to handle, easy to pack and be as light as possible. Osprey has tacked the weight issue head on with their new Ozone line of roller bags, and they score on handling and packability, too.

The bag comes in three sizes: an 18-inch (backpack size), a 22-inch (maximum carry-on size), and a 28-inch (you’ll have to check this one, fliers). I tested the 18-inch bag for four days of late summer travel.

The bag holds it shape well enough when you’re packing it and it held almost everything I needed. I could not get a second pair of shoes in without sacrificing something else. I’m not a heavy traveler and most of the items I packed were for summer weather, so if you decide to go with this bag as your carry-on travel bag, get the 22-inch version. The interior is lined with mesh pockets so there are good places to stow your odds and ends, your cables and gadgets – that kind of thing. There are two exterior pockets on the front for stuff you need access to, like your bag of three-ounce liquids, for example. And there’s an external pocket on the back of the bag that was the perfect size to hold my netbook. Compression straps cinch everything down when you’ve closed the bag, so it’s a very neat little piece of luggage. That’s a nice feature in a soft-sided bag.

A single telescoping handle runs down the center of the back of the bag, but it’s easy to pack around. And the bag handles very nicely, the hardware is smooth and everything works well. Part of the ease of handling is, I’m sure, in the barebones weight – it’s much easier to wheel around a bag that’s half the weight of your typical denier fabric roll-aboard.Because the fabric is so light, you’ll want to pack really smart when it comes to your crunchables. This isn’t an issue with the bag so much as it is with what you’ll be doing with it, but be aware that if the baggage guys are hurling out of the hold on to a cart, there could be collateral damage. This is not a bag for protecting your belongings; you’re going to want hard-sided luggage for that.

I liked traveling with this bag a lot. I really appreciated how light it was and how easy it was to move around. The grips are in the right place, it’s easy to pack, and it’s well designed. There’s one feature the bag doesn’t have that I’d like: a shoulder strap or stowaway backpack straps. Let’s face it; sometimes you have to carry your bag. You can’t always wheel it and weaklings like me can’t carry a grip for very long.

The Ozone comes in two colors, a bright green and a gray. The 22-inch (that carry-on size) lists for $199.

Video Of The Day: Fashion For The Weather

No matter how many times I manage to put together a surprisingly weather-appropriate outfit, I can’t seem to keep tabs on what those outfits are after the day has passed. This affects my travel packing. Warm-weather climates are easy enough to deal with – a bikini, shorts, tanks, sandals and a sundress or two. Simple. Destinations with cooler weather, however, elude me. Do I need my coat or just my sweater? I should have figured this kind of basic life skill out in elementary school, but since I didn’t, there’s an app for that. Cloth is a fashion app enabling users to photograph and upload pictures of their outfits. But now Cloth is tagging outfits with the current weather and archiving them. So the next time you’re traveling to a place with weather you can’t seem to remember how to dress for, Cloth will show you your own fashion for the weather options.

Clothes Shopping in Miami

Travel Smarter 2012: The best gear for your 2012 travels

Bad gear is dead weight, you might as well toss it right into that bin with the stuff that the TSA says you can’t take on the plane. A bag that has cheap zippers, clothing that doesn’t dry quickly when you’ve washed it in the hotel room sink, refillable bottles that don’t stay shut and ooze shampoo all over the shirt you packed especially for that client meeting… Packing smart is just, well, it’s smart. After a year of gear, I’ve got some ideas about what works well for me, but also, I polled friends and readers for the smartest in new gear. And some of it? Wow, smart stuff.

Bits and Pieces

TSA sized squeeze bottles: Essential and clever, good qualities in a travel companion. You can get the last of your favorite shampoo out because they’re squeezable. And refillable.

Solid shampoo: Lush Cosmetics makes a whole line of shampoos that you’ll be able to take on the plane without grief. There’s a solid conditioner too. Admittedly not new, but smart, indeed.

Gadgets

Kindle Fire
:
Readers love these things, and now that Amazon has updated the Kindle to include wifi, it’s a whole lot more than just a portable library. Browse the web, send email, watch movies, it’s a complete entertainment system that weighs about the same as a single paperback book.Morhpie Juice Pack Air: It’s a case and an extended battery. That means you don’t have to dig around in your bag to find the extra battery when your trying to Instragram your dinner and the phone dies.

Ear buds: Last year I got a pair of Senneheisser ear buds, iPhone compatible, and they almost made me give up my bulky noise cancelling headphones. They sound great and because they’ve got three sizes of pads for the buds, I was able to get a fit that isolates a surprising amount of noise. I’m sorely tempted by the Sennheisser IE 60, but the 250.00 price tag keeps me from pulling the trigger.

Panasonic Lumix :20x optical zoom in a pocket camera, HD video, a sophisticated range of settings, and great image quality, even in low light. A fantastic travel camera, I can’t recommend this thing enough. Panasonic keeps improving it, every year, and it’s been worth the upgrades. Stellar.

Shoes and Clothes

Wool, wool, wool: SmartWool and Icebreaker both make incredibly versatile lines of clothing — skirts in a very light knit that wash well and look great, sweaters that are stylish enough to wear out but perform extremely well in the outdoors… it’s expensive stuff, but I have pieces in my wardrobe that are over ten years old and still look great.

Barefoot style shoes: I’m a skeptic, but well traveled outdoors fitness types say they swear by Skeletoes from Fila. “Hiked in the mud, went to the beach, then went to dinner…” Okay, a casual dinner, to be sure.

Born Stowaway Flats
: Enough padding for serious sightseeing, and dressy enough for making it through the fancy dinner you hadn’t quite packed for. These flats pack down to tiny, so you can absolutely find room in your bag.

Luggage

Gregory Alpaca Rolling Duffel: No contest, this is my favorite new bag, the best thing I’ve seen in luggage in recent history. A duffel that’s a roller bag that you can actually carry as a backpack, and yes, it comes in carry on size.

Tom Bihn’s Brain Bag: All of Tom Bihn’s bags share an obsessive attention to detail, from the tie ons to the hardware to the compartments perfectly designed to hold just that one thing. The Brain Bag is for your laptop — and all that other electronica your dragging around. Configure it the way it works best for you.

Mission Workshop Vandal Backpack
: Sometimes, you just want a cool, stylish pack for day outings. The Vandal pack is weatherproof, expandable, and yeah, it fits your 15 inch MacBook. Plus, it comes in green. Sharp.

Osprey Transporter 60
: Not everything has to be a backpack. Osprey’s Transporter line comes with a harness so you can carry it as a backpack if you absolutely have to, but it’s also a top notch duffel. Weekends, road trips, short hops… a great all purpose duffel.

[flickr image via brewbooks]

SkyMall Monday: Toothpaste Tablets

gadling skymall monday toothpaste tabletsThe restrictions that the TSA places on liquids in our carry-on luggage are frustrating for everyone. How are we supposed to pack all of our lotions, creams, ointments, salves, balms, rinses and sprays in a single one-quart baggie (without getting sneaky)? Looking good isn’t easy and requires tremendous amounts of upkeep. This is particularly true when it comes to oral hygiene. Packing handfuls of travel-sized tubes of toothpaste is inconvenient and wasteful. Extracting every last drop of paste from the tubes is a fruitless endeavor (we use a vise here at SkyMall Monday HQ). You’d think that, in 2012, we’d have come up with a better way to clean our teeth. Well, the future is now, thanks to the geniuses at SkyMall (and their friends at Archtek). Stop squeezing your toothpaste when you can just pop it…with a Toothpaste Tablet!For years, we’ve longed for the day when our lives would truly be simplified by science. We were teased with glimpses of a magical future in which our meals are ingested in pill form or through chewing gum. Finally, the time has come for toothpaste technology to lead us to a higher state of being. No more tubes filled with silly looking gels. Like all of our problems before, the solution resides in a pillbox.

Think that you can’t have toothpaste without the paste? Believe that we’re becoming a pill-popping society? Well, while you use your pickle-flavored floss, we’ll be reading the product description:

These great tasting, chewable Toothpaste Tablets aren’t liquid or paste, so they can be carried on planes in your 3-1-1-kit. Lightweight, compact and convenient, just chew one tablet, brush, and rinse for the same benefits as traditional toothpaste.

You know what else can be carried in your 3-1-1- kit? Liquids and pastes. But those aren’t very futuristic, so what’s the fun in that? It’s about time someone dried out toothpaste into a tablet and allowed us to rehydrate it in our mouths so that we can perform a task that was never that much of a challenge previously. It’s like Dippin’ Dots for oral hygiene. And look how well things worked out for the “ice cream of the future.”

So the next time you’re taking your hoverboard on a long trip, leave the tubes at home. Just pack your Toothpaste Tablets and your future’s teeth will be so bright, you’ll have to wear shades.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

Portlandia goes overboard with outdoor gear

Gearing up for a day outside should be relatively easy. Grab the necessities – proper clothing, comfortable shoes, safety equipment, etc – and hit the road. Sure, you’ll be excused if you include a few extras in your pack (especially if you bring along enough snacks for everyone), but it’s easy for things to snowball until you suddenly realize that you’ve completely filled your car with gear for a simple day trip. In typical Portlandia fashion, this sketch mocks those over-packers, hyper-planners and big talkers who just can’t seem to stop planning and start doing.

The next time you’re heading out for a day of adventure, try to keep your pack light. Just make sure you bring the snacks!